Microsoft's Bing Pulse Audience Polling Service Goes Public
If you've been waiting to get your hands on Microsoft’s new polling data application, this is your lucky day. The company announced this week that it is opening up Bing Pulse 2.0, its experimental polling analytics technology, to anyone who wants to use it -- free of charge -- for part of its beta test.
“Bing Pulse 2.0 beta brings an easy-to-use, self-service version of this voting technology to event planners, producers and participants of any size gathering,” Microsoft said. “Bing Pulse allows broadcasters, organizers and other organizations to enable the conversation and allow their viewers and customers to be heard.”
Customizable Polling, Immediate Analytics
Released earlier this week, the beta version of the software features a dashboard for producers that allows them to set up, customize and control Pulses. That includes the ability to allow an audience to provide real-time feedback throughout the event, pushing poll questions to the audience at any time, and customizing the look-and-feel of a Pulse, including integration of social media handles or hashtags, to map back to their brands.
The producers can also immediately view results via representative graphics, and share these results in real-time by displaying them live on in-room or on-air screens, integrating them into video feeds, and embedding them on their Web sites. Alternatively, organizers may choose to analyze insights and share them later.
Participants can vote from their browsers on Web-enabled devices across various platforms. With a click, audiences can let speakers know if they agree or disagree, for example, with particular statements, as often as every five seconds. Voting is anonymous so participants’ privacy is protected.
Getting a ‘Pulse’
The analytics software has already been deployed by a variety of broadcasters and organizations to analyze massive real-time viewer polling and feedback. According to Microsoft, Pulse 2.0 has already been used to manage 35 million votes for events ranging from small auditorium conversations hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative to two of President Obama’s State of the Union addresses on Fox News.
Most recently, Bing Pulse was adopted by CBS News for its program on the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Civil Rights Act and was integrated into CNN’s election coverage. MSNBC launched its Great Debates series built around Bing Pulse’s audience engagement.
“An estimated 80 percent of Americans use a second screen -- a smartphone or tablet -- to enhance their experience while watching news, sports and entertainment on television or attending live events,” Microsoft said. Bing Pulse is designed to enable broadcasters, organizers, and advertisers to engage with customers through a secondary device while consuming other content.
We caught up with Sam Rosen, Practice Director at ABI Research, to get his take on the tool. "Bing Pulse 2.0’s announcement follows an overall move to analytics within the television context," Rosen told us. "Note that Microsoft is also offering Skype-oriented broadcast integration solutions to the same audience. From a programmatic standpoint, Ooyala has led this domain while Tivo just launched a new engagement oriented product. However, Bing Pulse will compete more against specialists such as Arktan as well as general competitor Yahoo."
Pulse 2.0 is free until January 2015, at which time Microsoft will start charging. However, the exact pricing model has yet to be determined.